(PIERRE) - Twenty-seven of the "Rapid City 37" made it to the Rapid City Lottery office April 5, 2010 to claim the group's $200,000 Powerball prize for the March 31, 2010 drawing.
The "Lucky 37" matched five of five white balls but not the red Powerball on a Quick Pick ticket purchased at the Johnson Siding General Store to win the game's second prize. It is the second time this year the $200,000 prize has been won in South Dakota.
Carl Schwarzenberg, who serves as the "secretary" for the group and purchases the tickets, says each member throws $1.00 into the pool and tickets are purchased only for Wednesday night drawings. While they initially purchase Powerball tickets, they often use some of their winnings to purchase tickets for other games as well.
It is also Schwarzenberg's job to check the numbers after the drawing to see if the group has any winners. But for this drawing, he had to call in some help.
"I usually check on-line to see if anybody hit the Powerball jackpot and when I looked that morning (April 1), I noticed nobody had hit it. I was looking at our tickets then and saw we had five of the numbers right. So I woke my wife up to have her look at them, too, to confirm that we had a winning ticket," Schwarzenberg said.
The timing of the win, coming on April Fool's Day, made it a little challenging when Schwarzenberg tried to share the news with the rest of the group.
"I had a hard time convincing them that we'd won $200,000. I'm kind of a joker anyway but I think some of them still didn't believe it until today when we came to the office to get our picture taken," he said.
While many members of the "Lucky 37" are still deciding what to do with their winnings, some have earmarked the money for medical expenses, vehicle repairs, college tuition for their children, and paying bills. The group plans to keep the pool going for future Powerball jackpots and offered some encouragement to other would-be winners.
"If lightning can hit us, it can hit you, too," said Schwarzenberg.
Members of the "Lucky 37" are: Diane Bates, Kelly Beasley, Margaret Bias, Kim Crump, Lillie Eisenbraun, Janelle Farris, Gwen Fenhaus, Susan Foster, Dean Heidt, Greta Howe, Jacqueline Jensen, Deb Kassube, Edward Kiefer, Karen Koupal, Bonnie Larson, Linda Larson, Joyce Lorenzen, Peggy Ness, Julie Odegaard, Tisa Owen, Myrna Peacock, Sheila Pekoske-Reber, Lori Plank, Christine Rans, Patricia Rick, Carol Riss, Anna Schild, Carl Schwarzenberg, Bonnie Stephens, Denise Stiles, Shirley Trout, and Anita Winter, all of Rapid City; Jim Fischer, Betty Millard, Steven Smith, and Julie Terry, all of Black Hawk; and Mary Otterness of Elk River, Minnesota.
Powerball is played in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The odds of winning the $200,000 prize are 1:5,138,133. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1:195,249,054.